To the Lady Katherine Manners

On lake and fell the loud rains beat,
And August closes rough and rude.
'Twas Summer's whim, to counterfeit
The wilder hours her hours prelude.

And soon—pathetic last device
Of greatness fall'n and puissance flown!
She passes to her couch with thrice
The pomp of coming to her throne.

But while, by mountain and by mere,
Summer and you are hovering yet,
A vagrant Muse entreats your ear:
Forgive her; and not quite forget!

I would that nobler songs than these
Her hands might proffer to your hands.
I would their notes were as the sea's!
I know their faults are as the sands.

At least she prompts no vulgar strain;
At least are noble themes her choice;
Nor hath she oped her lips in vain,
For you take pleasure in her voice.

And she hath known the mountain-spell;
The sky-enchantment hath she known.
It was her vow that she would dwell
With greatest things, or dwell alone.

And various though her mundane lot,
She counts herself benignly starred—
All her vicissitudes forgot
In your regard.
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